FC Goa head coach Manolo Marquez expressed satisfaction with the result as his team shared the spoils with Odisha FC in Matchweek 14 of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 season at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Friday.

The Gaurs maintained their unbeaten run in the ISL this season, thanks to a stunning goal from Jay Gupta that secured them a point after being 1-0 down. Odisha FC talisman Roy Krishna opened the scoring within the first four minutes of the match with a neat touch from close range, giving the Kalinga Warriors the lead at home.

However, FC Goa continued to press, launching waves of attacks that kept the Odisha FC defence under pressure. In the 37th minute, Gupta drilled a shot from outside the box, securing the equalizer and concluding the match with a 1-1 score.

The head coach acknowledged the formidable strength of Odisha FC, highlighting their notable achievements thus far in the season.

“They are a very good team. If you look at the season that Odisha FC are currently playing, they are still in the AFC Cup. They reached the final (of the Kalinga Super Cup) and lost, I think it was with ten players. Now, they are on top (of the ISL). It's true that they have played three more games than us, but their season has been excellent up until now,” stated Marquez in the post-match press conference.

The Spanish tactician believes that the 1-1 scoreline is fair, considering the tremendous effort put in by both teams. He was all praise for Gupta whose remarkable equalizer earned them a crucial point.

“Our team played with a lot of order. Maybe the first goal was hard for our team, but we reacted well by scoring one ourselves. Jay Gupta had a very good action. And in my opinion, the second half was very close, a 50-50 situation. Then for me, the score is a fair score," he added.

The 55-year-old emphasized the importance of his team maintaining focus in every upcoming game, as the majority of their opponents will be giving their all to secure a spot in the playoffs.

He shared, “In the first leg, when we faced Mohun Bagan SG and Mumbai City FC in consecutive games, I mentioned that these were the (most) difficult games. And finally, the most difficult game at that moment was NorthEast United FC. Therefore, it's crucial to maintain focus in every single game. Until now, except for Hyderabad FC, all the other teams are very close, competing for the sixth position.”

Marquez acknowledges that his team must consistently perform at their best, recognizing that the top five teams on the league table will be putting in maximum effort to vie for the coveted ISL shield.

“All five teams currently in the top five have the same goal – to win the shield. I believe every game will be very challenging for all teams. We must focus on playing well to continue our unbeaten streak and add more points in our table,” he wrapped up.